On the road

Professional musicians can operate in the large developed cities of the world without ever leaving the familiar comforts of their home town, but when, through recordings, they become known internationally, being “on the road,” as musicians term it, becomes a significant part of the way they live.  When Tradewinds started in Toronto in the mid ’60s, for example, our world was our downtown We Place nightclub where we played six nights a week year-round. After ‘Honeymooning Couple’ became a hit across the Caribbean, however, we were suddenly in that “on the road” category, touring the Caribbean, and travelling to North American cities (New York, Montreal, Miami, Winnipeg, Halifax, etc) which held large migrant Caribbean populations.

While we did get to some of those cities by road (Montreal, Ottawa, Kitchener) we went mostly by air, and many of the bookings that came our way were with the various Caribbean associations which had sprung up in the larger North American cities. When we disappeared from We Place for a few nights, with a replacement band on stage, that’s where we were – playing for Caribbean people in those distant locations. These associations – some Guyanese, some Trini, some Bajan – existed from Halifax to Vancouver, from Montreal to Miami, and we would play for many of them once a year.  Forty-five years later, we’re still doing some of that.  In the next three months, Tradewinds will play in St Maarten, Grenada, New York and Orlando, for such Caribbean association groups.

In the early years, with the songs’ popularity, by 1968 we were also touring the Caribbean once or twice every year playing some familiar places (Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana, St Lucia) but also landing in destinations such as Bequia, St Maarten, St Croix, St Kitts, Anguilla that we would not have otherwise have reached. Air travel became part of the …..To continue reading, login or subscribe now.

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